ZPG’s purchase of software company Expert Agent earlier this month has been called in by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and is now under review, prompting shares in ZPG to drop this morning.
The CMA has served an initial enforcement order to ZPG under section 72(2) of the Enterprise Act 2002.
The announcement was made by ZPG this morning, saying that “having been informed of the review and the order ZPG is now engaging in a consultation with the CMA and will make a further announcement in due course”.
The move has been widely anticipated within the industry after ZPG acquired Expert Agent – which trades under the name Websky Ltd – from private equity firm Metropolis. It in turn bought the company off founder Mike Griffiths in 2004.
The ZPG acquisition of Expert Agent gave it a substantial slice of the UK agent software market, as it had already bought Property Software Group in April 2016.
PSG at the time of acquisition by ZPG claimed to be used by over 40,000 estate agent letting agent branches across the UK, while Expert Agent is used by over 2,500 branches.
The CMA has been in the warpath within the property industry of recent, fining four estate agents in Burnham on Sea a total of £370,000 over an illegal price-fixing cartel in the seaside town, and is now offering £100,000 rewards to agents who report similar anti-competitive in their areas.